Re: Great lakes steelhead question??
Going into the backing is a function of tippet size. I generally use 7-12 lb. tippet on steelhead and try to control them by keeping the rod angle low, changing directions on them, and occasionally walking after them if they drop into fast water. Don't set the drag loosely- tire the fish with it, and keep the pressure on. Keep the fish off balance and moving- don't let it just sit in the current. Try to use as heavy a tippet as you feel you can get away with. I've had maybe 30 yds. of backing out on a hot chrome, very fresh in the lower part of a river. Considering that fish is close to 200' away at that point, you are in fairly deep trouble already. I agree with ted entirely- that 100 yds. should never be a problem.